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how do YOU get gigs?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by hartke20g, Apr 19, 2006.

  1. hartke20g


    Apr 12, 2006
    miami, FL
    alright, i searched for this kind of topic but that option wasn't too helpful. what i want to know is how does your particular band get paying gigs? i.e. coffee houses, restaurants, anything that's not a house party that'll pay you to play. my guitarist knows how to get shows at parties almost every weekend (even though he thinks we need original songs to actually be heard), but i want to know what all of you do exactly to get restaurants, etc to hire your band.

    cheers :help:
  2. find a public place like a park and practice if people like your music they will contact you me and my friends were messing around in the park with a guitar and a dgembe and and some guy asked us to play his coffee shop and he payed us $50 it was sweet

    disclaimer my friend played the guitar
  3. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    When you go out to see bands ask the sound guy who you should contact to get your band to play there, then contact them.
  4. If you have friends in other established, gigging bands, ask if you can open for them. If you go over big enough, you might get asked to play again (headline). Note that this will only work if the other band doesn't have a huge ego.
  5. IanStephenson

    IanStephenson UnRegistered User

    Apr 8, 2006
    Find similar bands. Get their gig list to find places that are putting on bands like you. Phone them up and ask! Follow that up with a press pack in the post containing a WELL PRESENTED CD, photo's, flyers, (brief) bio etc, and then go round and TALK TO THEM.

    It gets easier when you can tell them how great you're going down at all of the other venues across town of course, so the first few you'll probably have to play for petrol money (offer the first one cheap, but tell them you'll charge more once you start MAKING THEM MONEY).

  6. IanStephenson

    IanStephenson UnRegistered User

    Apr 8, 2006
    I think this works BEST if the other band has a huge ego. They're far less likely no notice you're stealing their gig and audience, and it's far more fun when they finally realise you are better than them (or as they'll see it more commerical!).

  7. tappingtrance

    tappingtrance Cooke Harvey Supporting Member

    Jul 27, 2005
    Also, like anything in life it is about relations - in person meet the manager - negotiate to play for free or a percentage above 'X' amount of cover. Make sure you are identifying places where you genre of music fits - metal in a singer songwriter aina't going to happen.
    Also, the best is to open for bands for free - low investment - a. you are playing b. you get a good percentage of audience of the headliner c. you meet the management d. you sell your CDs/T-shirts to folks who otherwise you would not know e. you typically don't bring any gear 'cause you use the headliners backlinie

    Always, always work the crowd, on stage thank the band that offered the opening slot, thank 'fill in name here' the management and the bartender/ess -

    after you set - don't ditch out - work the crowd now by asking folks what they thought, introduce yourself - walk upu to people don't wait for them to walk up to you. etc.etc.

    It takes a bit of patience and tenacity but one thing I can tell you - that phone is not going to ring offering you a gig out of nowhere!

    Good luck!
  8. Mojo-Man


    Feb 11, 2003
    It's all about marketing.
    1-Band cards- hand out at any event.
    2-Demo C D or cassette.
    All club want to hear something.
    3-Some type of band bio. with pics, and CD.
    These can be good for mailing.
    4-Go to jams, and clubs, talk to owners, or club managers.
    Sell yourself.
    5-word of mouth- If your band is good, people will talk.
    The buzz on the street effect.
  9. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
    Lol... "he thinks we need original songs to actually be heard"...

    Nope. If your aim is to make money and quickly, your answer is covers. Very few people will pay money to come listen to some band they've never heard of play some songs they've never heard. But they WILL come pay money for a band they've never heard of if they know that they're a classic rock cover band or a country cover band or a Beatles tribute band or something.

    If you're still interested in doing originals, sneak a few into your cover sets gradually. Then YOUR songs will become as second nature as the COVERS. But of course, that's a process that will take years.

    OR, you can go full out with originals and play for free a lot. My band is all original, and we play 2 kinds of gigs - paying and fun. Not to say that the paying gigs aren't fun, they are, but the paying gigs pay for the nonpaying ones. We played last night for a group of about 50 and made our standard fee (plus dinner). We play next weekend for a group of about 200 for nothing but a couple slices of pizza. But it's ok, because we're paying for THAT gig with this last one. And by "paying for that gig", I do certainly mean "paying for gas" and nothing more.

    Ok, but back on topic. If you're a cover band, don't play for free. You shouldn't have to. Find some bars that will pay the opening band 50 bucks, and play those gigs. Do well, and then get the higher priced gigs - the ones that actually pay in the MANY hundreds... lol...

    Even your average house party should be able to throw you $100 for a gig. If not, they don't REALLY want a band, and you're just shoving yourself into a situation where you're not REALLY wanted. It's a nice way to find out where you're seriously wanted (as a cover band).

    The biggest and best way to hit the ground running is to do everything professionally from the start. Ask a professional level fee, provide a professional level service (music), and treat it all in a professional manner.

    DON'T PLAY FOR FREE AS A COVER BAND. You're not desperate to get your music out there, because it's not really your music. The only way you should play for free is if you're using a "gig" as a rehearsal with audience, and even those should be few and far between. You don't want a reputation as a band NOT WORTH PAYING. It's the same reason why people will value a $2 CD more than a free CD. The $2 CD is almost an insignificant cost, but people expect to have to spend some money for a good service, so they'll pick up the CD. Inexpensive service is great. Free service is not.

    Also, draft up a contract. There are hundreds of templates online. This will help to clarify all the details (load in, duration of sets, etc), and will also spell out the pay rate. People are sometimes dishonest, and it helps to have a signed contract if you neeed to threaten small claims court to get the $800 that the bar owes you. It won't even usually go that far, honestly. It's just very nice to eliminate all the "Oh, I thought you said THIS" crap by putting it down in writing.

    The final criteria is that you need to be solid musically. Whether this takes you a week or a year, make sure that you can perform at a professional level, or you will not be asked back.


    Jan 25, 2005
    Des Moines, IA
    We're a gospel jazz group so we tend to stay in touch with the local Ministers of Music...churches are ALWAYS having some sort of program, banquet, networking function, etc. and they ususally usually have a good deal of influence.

    Pastors typically run in the activists circles and usually don't want a rock/funk band for their functions because of the lyrics....90% of our songs don't have any so we're safe for most events. We just got our website up, so we make sure it's in the programs and other announcements. Lately, we've been going to open jams and playing as a group (I know it's not paid) but we've gotten a couple gigs out of it so I'm not dissin'.
  11. dodgy_ian


    Apr 9, 2001
    Newcastle, UK
    guess it depends on style of music your doing really, but all in all it can't hurt to make as many contacts as pos and get your name around, the more people you know the more likely someone is likely to offer you a gig hey!

    I get loadsa gigs, but thats cos I'm freelancing as an individual rather than a band, but i know the reason i get so many is cos I know lotsa people and play an instrument thats quite rare-ish in my area....

    so i guess its about supply and demand as well....

    urgh, market economics!
  12. Wesley R

    Wesley R Supporting Member

    1. The local shopper for wedding gigs.
    2. We took some low paying dump bar gigs to feel out new members as we re-formed a new band
    3. Tell everyone, I mean every last breathing sole that you know, meet, talk with, see, run into on the street etc. that you are in a band.
    4. Back in the day, we would get in touch with the dance committe or teen club or whatever it was called at sr. and when I was younger Jr. highs.
  13. hartke20g


    Apr 12, 2006
    miami, FL
    thanks for all the replies. it's all starting to make more sense that it's going to be twice as hard as i thought since we can't legally play at bars here (except for this one time in my old band where these people rented a bar out for their kid's birthday party). and now i've also got some ammo for explaining to my guitarist that covers are ok.
  14. Geezerman


    Nov 28, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    In my local music scene it seems we are being black balled because we are a metal group and not a hardcore/metalcore/ninjacore :)p) band. EVen talking with local show promoters, showing pictures and video of previous shows we can never find a gig. We've played one show and we closed a talent show in front of 800 people and won the "best band there" award. Not sure what we should do, because I love playing in front of people. Graduation parties are coming up, time to dust the AC/DC and zeppelin covers off :p
  15. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    Maybe they dont think you are as good as you think you are.
  16. Quality


    May 7, 2003
    Long Beach, CA
    Good stuff.
    I'm in Massachusettes and around here, it seems like the only way to get gigs and make $$$ is to play covers, so that's what we do. I tried the original thing and that was a nightmare trying to get gigs on that alone. What we ended up doing was mostly covers and mixed in the originals throuout the night; starting out with like one original per set and then build on that after a few shows..

    Anyways here's a few things we do.
    1. Promoters, we have one in Ma and one in Ct. they usually take like 15% but it's really worth it sometimes.
    2. Web site. We have gotten more random calls from people that have just stumbled on our site.
    3. Word of mouth - it goes a long way.

    Plus everything else that people have mentioned here, good stuff.
  17. Hyde


    Mar 30, 2006
    I wondered if anyone was going to have the guts to say that!
  18. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    press kit, walk the pavement, and phone everybody.
  19. Geezerman


    Nov 28, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    We don't think we are that good, we play music because me like to I would be content jamming in a basment for the rest of my life. If you would like to hear the local talent getting these gigs i would be More than happy to provide links :confused:
  20. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    Im just saying that even if you think you are good enough, if they arent booking you, maybe you guys need to practice more, or go in another direction to really get the creative juices flowing.

    It could be a local scene conspiracy, but chances are it isnt.

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